Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The End

2008 is wrapping up. Hard to believe, but sadly all too familiar a story. I was having a conversation with Kelly and Patrick last night about the scheduled/over-booked DC lifestyle. Penciling things in our Google Cals (or Outlook for the work obsessed or DayPlanner for the old-skool kidz) to the point that we lack availability and spontaneity in our lives. We plan out weeks and months in advance so we can coordinate with our different social groups and keep in touch with circles of people we enjoy but don't see. Old coworkers. Bar people. Volunteer buddies. College Kidz. Childhood buddies we have history but little else in common with. We are friends with everyone and no one at the same time because at some level we're all ladder-climbing Type As who do care where we go at the end of the day and can't blow off work for some free wheeling road trip in the middle of the night. As a result, the weeks blur together as a mesh of dinners, catch-up coffees, gym sessions, volunteering opportunities, short-travel excursions and at the end... it seems hard to miss the year go by. After all, you've done so much.

Well, since I still haven't garnered the discipline to write more, as I promise in each post. I guess I will just try to see what happened in 2008 quickly.

We finished renovating. Thank God. I can't believe Mike and I lived in the small bedroom with a bed, TV, A/C unit, while the entire house was being converted from Bolivian Restaurant to chic Arlingtonian yuppie-house.

I changed jobs. I went on detail to the FAA and was asked to stay. It was a hard decision leaving DOT, mostly because of the great people. But in the end I realized it was a good move to see where else things lead.

Travel = 0. This year I went nowhere. Usually, I'm a jet setting freak, but alas with the responsibilities of a real job and financial constraints of home ownership, no such luck. I did visit Bunn in Michigan for a few days and our mini Vegas family visit counts towards at least leaving the state more than once.

I guess I've started to settle into my late-twenties with a bit of resignation and inevitability. My skin has been starting to turn translucent from the glow of my fluorescent desk light and lack of actual natural sunlight. Additionally, my purchases in outrageous clothing has also subsided (except for a few bright tights and one pair of very gold shiny pants). I'm married. We own a house. I might get a cat. I guess this is being grown-up. It doesn't feel like it yet, but judging by the further drifting of my family from the-way-things-were, things have changed. The year has been good despite all the doom-and-gloom of the economic turndown that should have been expected by the recklessness of our country. Enough of that though. My friend Audrey says the odd years are better. We're about to find out again if that's true.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Late Night at the Luxor

Hi Friends.

That's Mike and I doing our best ancient Egyptian/Pharoah/ Mummy/Something pose. Don't ask. We spent Labor Day weekend in the first Marfori cousins trip. I would call it a mild success (we'll go for resounding the next time...)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Somebody Else’s Nose

I think I heard the expression first in middle school, “You can pick your nose, but you can’t pick anyone else’s.” So simplistic, so true, I imagined if I reached over the seat in the yellow school bus as it bumped down the afternoon route and just yanked a booger from the kid that sat behind me in 3rd period Math.

Much of being an adult is realizing you can’t make other people’s decisions, but the worst part is you’re still supposed to support them No Matter What. Though I understand that's the mature thing to do, it feels disingenuous.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


It is the title of a very good Cursive album, and also the state in which I live and semi-constantly ridiculed for (yet everyone lives in it as well). And yes, that is a toilet that I have to use. Though it looks 3rd world-like, that's actually in the house I live in... outrageous.

Since its been, oh 8 months, since I’ve blogged. Its at true testament to the passage of time without any actual worthy events to write about. I haven’t traveled out of the country. My family has further splintered. Mike and I are already rolling towards our one year anniversary. His mom asked if I wanted to freeze my eggs since it appears that 27 is already old (I politely said, No, in case you are wondering.) Here’s a recap on some other things since I can’t commit to writing on a regular schedule.

Living in the Basement
So last fall we moved into the Basement of 3907 Kansas Ave, which all the whiteys call Petworth, the hood kidz call Georgia Ave. and my brother likes pretend it is in the phantom area called North Columbia Heights. The neighborhood is what a realtor would call up-and-coming or transitional. The place has tons of demolition of the crumbling older buildings, to make room for over-priced condo high-rises right next to the Metro, but the rest of the neighborhood has somehow been left behind a bit.

We only planned to stay a few months but our housing search totally derailed as we decided not to move to N. Arlington to a house too pricey for our salaries. First off, living without a lot of light was tough. At times it felt like a cave. Due to be an domestic that has hung up her partying boots, the allure of the neighborhood bars like the Red Derby and all those indie-whatever places like DC9 and Velvet Lounge was absent. Most of the time, I wore long underwear for the walk to the Metro and stayed inside all day at DOT (even during lunch to go to the gym). We didn’t move out until June. That marked about 9 months in the basement without me going out in the District too much.

During our time there, most notably, I’d say was our experience with Rodents. You heard me. You wanna hear about up-and-coming, where do you think all the vermin go when their old dilapidated shelters are knocked down. We found some mice eating into our large sack of rice (I had to throw the whole thing out, I felt like such a waster). We attempted to trap them via glue traps. Stinky the Cat got to one first and one did fatefully perish in a glue trap.

The Real Estate Hunt
So we got sucked in, while the market was crashing and all you could hear was the doom of the credit crunch that would do us all in, Mike and I dragged each other to just about every house in North and South Arlington. We settled on this nice neighborhood, Alcova Heights, and then we WAITED for about 5 months while we tried to sweat out a short sale. We finally won. But unlike everyone else that allegedly gets fabulous deals on these sad homes, we paid full price and had a lot of work cut out for us. It was like an HGTV show gone bad. (You’ll see.)

The house has got some character due to the Asian/Latino take over of the place. The house was built on that lot in 1978. It was one of those pre-fab homes that looks pretty cookie cutter: rambler with a basement. We dug up the public records on Washington Post and turns out a Korean family lived there, then some Nguyens took it over (Mike blames the weird renovations on my people), and flipped it before the Bolivians moved in during the housing boom in 2006. The Bolivians decided it was a good idea to start running some kind of illegal kitchen/restaurant out of the basement. I mean it was the real deal, with long plastic tables, a counter you could order from, huge propane woks in the Utility room and a menu board. The place smells as Mike likes to say “like Boiled Rib”.

After finally securing the restaurant house, which was a circus in itself, we’ve basically unloaded tons of cashola into our Money Pit (Yes, yes, we know of the Tom Hanks and Shelly Long movie and this is worse because of inflation, we’re spending that much more.) Now, I wasn’t even considering our house initially because the Bolivian kitchen, but now I wonder if I should have kept the business alive for the following reasons 1) Dedicated customer base: we had folks showing up at our house in droves in the following weeks 2)We could have kept all the bad smelling rib dry wall 3) It would be like a franchise and I’d finally learn how to cook.

Ok more on domesticity at a later date since I’m not good at following through.

Monday, December 31, 2007

The End of Another Year

This is where I'd like to be right now instead of holed up at my cubicle. Its the last day of 2007! It has been quite a whirlwind year with alot of change.

I'm going to try to do some reflection about the events of the past year...

January 2007. Mike and I were celebrating our 4-years together mark (we don't count time off, so I'm guessing its not a true 4-years). I was returning to my last semester in graduate school. I was employed at SI and working in the CPMS office. I think we were still on the 8th floor and I had my nice private little hallway to hide from people and do my school work. I moved to Mike's house in 'hoodbridge. I bought my wedding dress(es).

February 2007. Year of the Pig was celebrated. We went to Eden and then to Harvest Moon and enjoyed mediocre Chinese food along with the red envelopes stuffed with cashola. It was a relatively mild winter thus far. I was in the midst of three classes: Metropolitan Transportation Planning, Regional Economic Development and MicroEcon. We sent out save the date cards and I avoided thinking too much about the wedding in fear of blowing up.

March 2007. I got my hair trimmed for the first time since my trip to China last summer. I heard back a polite, but hurtful No from the Fulbright people regarding my grant to Ghana. I continued to slug to work and also wrote a paper about slugs as myself and our impact by the HOT lanes being built in I-395.

April 2007. Econ was still kicking my ass. Work was mostly fluff projects and we moved to the dungeon down in the other building. My scooter's battery died and to this day has not been revived. I began to plan my escape hoping that I would find some interesting prospects, but still hanging on. We were starting to get into the hardcore wedding planning junks, including the invites, dances, and costuming... I also suffered a mini-breakdown due to the brain-wash Church retreat marriage prep counseling. HELP.

May 2007. Graduation, finally! I crawled to the finish line without the prospects of a new job. But I had applied to a program at DOT. I turned 26. My sister got engaged in a huge fanfare of an event. The weather started to turn warm and I was still avoiding the huge impending wedding doom.

June 2007. Australia! I left for 3 weeks with the Global Young Leaders Summit to the land down under. I thorougly enjoyed working with my national guide, Denise, as we led my rowdy group of 25 students from Canberra (spl?) to Sydney to Cairns. The skyline in Sydney was every bit as amazing as I've seen on TV and losing my regulator while scuba-ing was quite the scary adventure. I also enjoyed my last day when I enjoyed the rainforest in Queensland via skyrail and train. A bit of wine also helped.

July 2007. Mike went to Vegas and I went insane. Dance practices, RSVPs flooding back in, seating chart, IT WAS CRAAAAAAAAAAZY. We managed to visit Kelly and Kerry in NJ and being screwed by our jeweler all in the same trip. I started work at DOT and Mike at Lexis.

August 2007. The big month. Marriage. Too much to recap. It was ridonkulouso.

September 2007. The Philippines. Highlights: the beaches of Palawan, food courts in Manila, our private driver, Glenn, Favila-mania/reunion, eating every fried dough object manageable, clean mountain air in Baguio, Balatoc Mines - who knew!, rainy days in Borocay, deathtrap that was Tita Linda's timeshare, the claw game, good cable on 2nd avenue, Let's Face It 3-hour facial, "Gentleman's Massage" (which was not what it seemed), lugging around a crappy guitar forever, flawless sunsets, sunburn a la snorkeling, hot spring pools making you want to pee.

October 2007. Return to the boring life - back in the U.S, back at my cube, and a major slowdown. I had been reeling from the wedding and it was the end of a period of nonstop activity. We moved 1/3 of our worldly possessions into the basement of 3907 Kansas. Unfortunately, my full ("single-self") bed caused problems for Michael's back and he's still whining about it until this day. Mike also developed an irrational fear of rats. For Halloween, we partied at Rock 'n Roll Hotel. I dressed as Minnie Mouse and Michael as someone murdered in his sleep by a rat. While walking down H St NE, a woman asked him what he was, when he responded, she said "You in the right neighborhood, brotha!"

November 2007. Again, not much to report. I'm wondering what I should do now that things are so calm. I've tried looking for some volunteer gigs. I would like to drum again, but with the lack of a house and not playing for over a year... I feel de-motivated. Phi and MM hosted Turkey Day and we showed BO ME how to play wii. I could feel the passage of time and my family drifting apart. My parents struggle to hold onto the reigns of control and blame American culture for stripping us of our filial piety.

December 2007. The end of another year upon us. Mike and I went nutz trying to get all the right Christmas gifts. Again, it feels so strange to force the holidays when we're already so grown up. The family drama drones on and there's no snow on Christmas. Work is dull and I'm wondering why I'm not more of a go-getter.

Ah well, 2008 here you come.

Monday, December 17, 2007

on weddings.

I haven't blogged in months and I'm slowly but surely forgetting how to form a sentence... below is a frustrated post that I had written a few months before the wedding. I seem pretty pissed. Now that the dust has settled though I would make a few observations:

1) Weddings are overhyped, but it was worthwhile to see all my friends and family in the same place.

2) Its an awful of effort, but since its about you, its easy to get carried away.

3) I'm glad I got married. (It's only four months in, maybe I'll change my mind)

And yes, I'll try to start posting regularly again after the 6-month gap.

However, please enjoy my angry rantings below.
June 2007
I've been approached many times over the last twelve months about my upcoming nuptials. I believe people expect me to be gushing about pink hyacinths that will be in my bouquet. Or shrieking in a shrilly voice about how fabulous it is to be joining the rank of the settled-down boring people (not a jab at all boring people, just a gross generalization). This is how allegedly-normal engaged women react. My friend who is getting married the month after me asked me to buy my bridesmaid dress 10-months in advance. My friend who is getting married three months after me bought her dress before I bought a wedding magazine. For a person that is so punctual, ambitious and efficient, I felt behind. I tried not to care, shake it off, but everytime I got close to succeeding someone would approach me about some impending doom.

I disappoint these expectations. I have no engagement ring. I'm throwing a big wedding because of my fiance (which I'm happy to do, I'm just saying it wasn't my idea). Overall, I just want to get a nap and a better job. Also, I'm still aiming to impact the world in some profoundly positive way. You see, I'm very busy. I love me a life partner but, but I'd still like to have priorities that are about me achieving more than being one-half of a couple.

So, since I do not react in this precise, sociologically pre-determined manner. I am a fake. I don't want to get married. I'm just doing this because my "time" is running out. I'm settling. I'll probably break off the engagement. I'll probably be divorced. I am uncommitted. To anyone who thinks this or says this to me, I would tell them to eat it. But sadly, I am too lazy to make that kind of effort on this kind of judgement.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Laura asked me twice to write this. So now I will. ---

April 2007

There are three distinct parts to this story. However, they lead to a very sticky ending.
Part I

I was headed to Laura's house for Jennifer's big birthday celebration. We had reluctantly agreed to go to H20's Salsa night. I say reluctantly because 1) I don't go to clubs anymore (that's so when I was 19!) 2) I don't like going anywhere South of the city since I'm a scaredy cat from the suburbs. Over brunch, I had guilted Jenn about making us do it. But I was promptly put in my place by Laura and we were on our way to go.

Before getting to Laura's, I decided to stop by Giant to buy a new toothbrush since I didn't bring one. I was planning on staying the night, so having stank breath was not really an option. On the way to the checkout, I saw Cadbury eggs for sale. The sign of Easter! (for me at least) I love me some yellow peeps and a creme-filled Cadbury egg. It was 2/$.89, how could I say no? I proceeded to the cashier and in typical environmentally-friendly fashion, declined a plastic bag and popped both the Cadbury creme eggs and the toothbrush into my Fendi.

Part II

My last semester in grad school, I decided I needed to drastically cut back and concentrate solely on my studies. Well, it didn't quite work out like that (Thanks, Mike for guilting me into keeping my job), but I did go part-time at my firm. What that really translated into was I was taking Fridays off to "catch-up" on my studies which in fact turned out to nothing more than catching up on sleep and bad day-time television. In my defense, I was burned out from the working-school-sleep and there were a few select Fridays that I actually did research productively.

One day, the cable in Mike's bedroom stopped working. Heaven forbid I actually go downstairs to sit on my lazy half-employed ass to watch daytime MTV (which for your information is terrible but helps my brain relax since its basically watching half naked something's trying to date one another on shows like "Parental Control" or the one with the lie-detection software so your BFF can tell if your potential suitor is a complete douchette).

I called Mike in complete panic, he said to check the cable in the back and make sure it was still connected. I turned the TV around to inspect said-cable.

The TV fell over. I lunged in front of it. So the TV fell on me. That was unpleasant.

Part III
Unbeknownst to me, the TV had fallen on not only me, but also on my pretty Fendi. I'm not sure where I was, but I reached into my Fendi a few days later to pull something out of it. The insides of my purse were quite sticky. I couldn't figure it out. The it all flashed through the Cadbury egg in the bag, the TV smushing the Cadbury egg which I hadn't noticed because th TV mostly fell on me.

Everything was covered in Cadbury Creme. The eggs had been crushed under the weight and had days to ooze its sugary goodness over my keys, my phone, my notebook. And everything, absolutely everything including my darling designer purse was slatered in a thin layer of that white ane yellow sugar goo. And the best part is it that lovely Cadbury cereme had hardened
in the cracks of my keys and my cell phone. I couldn't even get my housekey into the lock.

Utterly obnoxious. Furthermore, that stuff does not come off! I had to soak my keys in a mixture of dish soap and warm water overnight. My phone suffered heavily as I couldn't actually soak it in water, instead I just slowly let that creme-filling flake off slowly over time.